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US Congresspersons send letter to Bush on Cyprus
2003-03-27 14:11:49

by Demetris Apokis -- Washington, Mar 26 (CNA) -- Seventeen members of the US Congress have called on the US administration to use all available political and diplomatic means to persuade Turkey to work constructively to resolve the Cyprus question in a manner consistent with the UN process.

In a letter to US President George Bush the 17 Congresspersons expressed great disappointment for the breakdown of the UN-sponsored Cyprus peace talks in The Hague earlier this month and underlined that ''all of the facts lead to the inescapable conclusion that the cause of the breakdown is the intransigence of Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash and his supporters in Ankara.''

''Thus we would urge that all official statements from the US government regarding the Cyprus issue place the blame of this negative outcome squarely where it belongs, with Mr. Denktash and Ankara,'' they saisd.|

They called on the US administration to ''redouble its efforts to persuade Turkey and the Turkish Cypriot leader to work constructively within the UN process and framework to achieve a negotiated settlement to end the division of Cyprus.''

The Congresspersons noted that ''due to the attitude of Mr. Denktash and Turkey, further progress on the UN plan now appears derailed''.

They added ''it is apparent that continued division serves Mr. Denktash's narrow political interests even if his position is completely contrary to the interests of the large majority of the Turkish Cypriots, who have made their views known in support of the UN process in massive demonstrations.''

Furthermore, they stressed that ''in contrast (Cyprus) President (Tassos) Papadopoulos has pledged to continue efforts for a Cyprus settlement that would properly serve the interests of both the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities and has stressed that his government will remain in contact with the UN.''

The 17 Congresspersons said that ultimately the victims of the ''shortsighted policies from Ankara and the Turkish Cypriot leadership are the people of Turkey and the Turkish Cypriot community, who will continue to be deprived of an opportunity to share in the economic, social and other benefits of EU membership.''

They stressed that ''at a time when Turkey is interested in joining the EU its lack of cooperation in the efforts to solve the Cyprus problem can only result in a setback for Turkey's EU candidacy.''

Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. Earlier this month, the latest UN-led effort to reach a negotiated settlement collapsed in The Hague after Denktash refused to put to a referendum a proposal submitted to the two sides on the island by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan.

CNA/DA/MK/GP/2003
ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY

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